1. Size of Holdings:
The average size of holdings in India is very low, less than 2 hectares or 5 acres due to which no scientific cultivation with improved techniques and seeds can take place.
Small sized holdings lead to great waste of time, labour, difficulty in proper utilization of irrigation facilities and irrigation among farmers.
2. Poor Techniques of Production:
The Indian farmers have been using old and inefficient methods and techniques of farming. Only in the recent years, the farmers have started adopting improved implements like steel ploughs, sugarcane crushers, small pumping sets, harrows, fodder cutters etc. In India, the use of farm to yard manure and chemical fertilizers is extremely inadequate. The Indian farmers do not have the means to purchase good quality seeds and better techniques of farming due to scarcity of funds.
3. Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:
One of the basic causes for the weakness of Indian agriculture has been that most of the farmers through out the country have to depend upon rainfall and very few of them can avail the facilities of artificial irrigation. Despite a vigorous programme of major and minor irrigation works since 1951, the ratio of irrigated land to total cultivated land is now about 33 per cent.
4. Pressure of Population on Land:
The pressure of population on land is continuously increasing, whereas the number of people dependent on agriculture was 16.3 crore in 1901, it rose to 44.2 crore in 1981. Though additional land has been brought under cultivation since 1901, yet per capita cultivated land has declined from 0.444 hectares in 1921 to 0.296 hectares in 1961 and further to 0.219 hectares in 1991.
Increasing pressure of population on land is partly responsible for the sub-division and fragmentation of holdings. The cultivated land (hectare per person) in India declined up to 0.14 in 2009 according to a World Bank report published in 2010.
5. Land Tenure System:
A very important factor of low agricultural productivity was the absence of proper incentives. Under the Zamindari system, the cultivator was only a tenant who could be turned out of the land. Even though the Zamindari system has been abolished and tenancy legislations have been enacted yet the position of tenants is still far from satisfactory.
6. Lack of Credit and Marketing Facilities:
On account of lack of marketing facilities and nonavailability of loan on fair rate of interests, the cultivators are not able to invest the requisite resources in agriculture. This keeps the level of productivity on land and per cultivator low.
Indian farmers do not get a fair return for their crops. It has been estimated that on an average the agriculturist cannot get more than 50 per cent of the price. As majority of the farmers are poor they cannot hold their crops for a long time so as to have a better price for their crops because they have to return the loans taken for purchasing seeds, fertilisers, water etc.
Moreover inadequate storage facilities and chain of middle men make the marketing system more complex. Although there is government agency like Food Corporation of India for this but it handles only big and rich farmers. Cooperative Marketing Societies and Warehousing facilities are not developed.
7. Unreliable Monsoon:
The Indian farmer is at the mercy of the Monsoon which can sometime bring very heavy rains and cause floods and sometimes dry spells that can lead to drought conditions. Also the amount of rainfall in a particular season is not dependable.
8. Soil Erosion:
In a land of heavy rains, removal of natural vegetation can be disastrous. It leads to wide-spread soil-erosion. The land has been under cultivation for over 5000 years and if it is not taken care of, it loses its fertility reducing its yield. Large tracts of fertile land suffer from soil erosion by wind & water.
9. Human Factors:
Most farmers do not own the land they cultivate. The land is owned by the absentee landlords who are indifferent to land improvement and the plight of the farmers. Poverty is serious problem. Farmers are often burdened with inherited debts. They cannot afford to use modern equipments and buy better seeds. Moreover they do not have security against the crop failure.
10. Fertilizer and Biocides:
Indian soils have been used for growing crops over thousands of years without caring much for replenishing. This has led the farmers to depend on minerals. The chemical fertilizers are costly and often beyond the reach of the poor farmers.
Cow dung, though a good manure has limited use as much of the cow dung is used as kitchen fuel due to the reduction in the supply of fuel wood. Drainage manures are best to keep the soil in good health and India has a vast potential of rural and urban compost which is not fully utilized at present.